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Thursday, 6 April 2017

Getting Clearance for Brexit: Debt or Dowry?

There has been a crescendo of silly talk in Strassbourg and Brussels in recent days, as various spokesmen - nearly all men - have sounded off. The contempt of European Parliamentarians for democracy has been strongly evident. The lobby demanding that Britain should be 'punished' for allowing the electorate to decide the fate of the country has made it clear that a major motivation on their part is to scare other countries from even thinking of leaving the EU. If a club thinks that its survival depends on scaring the members about the penalties for leaving, what sane or decent person would want to be a member?

Meanwhile, it is becoming clear that there will be an argument about the bill to be presented by the UK. A pragmatic British view must be, that we will pay all our debts and obligations; with delay only for so long as is necessary to agree on the currency for settlement and on how that sum may be inflated or discounted as a result of currency movements and inflation during the settlement period. There should be no argument about the quantum, and discussion of the post-settlement adjustment is essentially a technical matter.

The argument can only become serious if some of the eurorats who want to squeeze a dowry out of Britain, over and above our debts, are able to get that nonsense onto the table. It must be resisted absolutely.

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